Debt Update: March 2018

Debt Paid Last Month: $1034

Hello Everyone,

Today I thought I’d keep myself open and accountable. My husband and I owe more money than either of us really want to admit to others. It’s embarrassing the decisions we made that lead us to this point (most of them of my own fault). So this is a post of both determination and motivation. Rather than hide it from the world and try to ignore it, I want to put it in the limelight and prove everyone wrong about it taking a lifetime to pay off student loans and other debts.

So today is our first monthly review and goal for this month! February was a rough debt payoff month for us. We had an unexpected medical expense/debt come up and we decided that instead of delving into the emergency fund we would save that for a true emergency where we didn’t have the money and take from our other funds to pay it off. Unfortunately part of that had to come from our extra money to pay off debt.

Another decision that had our expenses a bit higher this month was to meet with a tax accountant and make the correct decisions for our businesses. First, we wanted to meet with an accountant for our personal taxes anyways. It just is less stressful and well worth the money spent to have it done right! Secondly, we knew that by starting Ogden Customs and reviving this blog as potential avenues of revenue we needed to talk about liabilities and incorporating. We decided to create our umbrella LLC Ogden Customs to go ahead and be able to properly monetize these blogs! Long term it was the smart move but it did cost us a hundred dollars to do properly.

That being said while we did have a few setbacks, overall we saw an increase in our income as well! Now that I was working the full month vs having a bit of a gap after graduating we saw a nice increase from my paychecks. Also Avery has been managing an hour or two overtime here and there which adds up quickly! I’m also on the hunt for a different job than waitressing and have high hopes.

All of that being said here is what we are hoping for the next month:

We want to have the truck paid off before June when my loans kick in! So to be on task to do that we want to pay over a $1000 this month (which includes the normal payment).

So make sure to check back and see how we did in our post next month!

How is your debt payoff and financial goals coming for you?

~ Naomi

Cutting your Grocery bill in half… in less than 30 mins a week

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Hello Everyone,

One of my pet peeves in this world is when someone tells me that something that saves them money is “too much effort to be bothered with” yet two days later (or two hours) they are griping about not having enough cash to go out. Listen! I promise you that I can make about 50% of your grocery bill go away with some very basic steps. In January of 2018 our total grocery budget was $75. By the end of the month not only were we still within the budget (by pennies, but we were in) and our grand total of savings before cash back was $77. From the following tips we saved just over 50% on retail prices for our groceries. If you include the rebates we had it was around 60%.

A few notes/disclaimers before we start:

  • My budget for my husband and I ranges between $75-150 a month for all of our groceries that are edible. This includes alcohol. That being said it can be done for less, but this is what works for us. We also know that at full price our food would be literally double, if not more at around $200-300 a month.
  • I actually love cooking, so for me it isn’t a burden to meal plan. If you don’t cook at all then this might not help you very much (I don’t know, I don’t eat a lot of processed foods).
  • I’m not going to talk about the awesomeness of gardens because I understand that just won’t work for everyone. This is something just about anyone can do.

So let’s get started:

First, stick to 1-2 groceries stores. Do your research and pick the one with the best sales for food that you like. For me, that is a regional chain called Meijer. #Lovethem.

Anyways the 1st thing to do is sign up for their rewards program, unless you shop at Aldi you shouldn’t have a problem doing this. This doesn’t mean credit card, that’s a totally separate issue. Sign up for whatever coupon and ad system they have. Meijer even has an app for their program, Mperks, and I love it. This is the number one way to build savings and do so quickly. Now before you tell me that it is so much work to coupon and plan, let me tell you to calm thyself. You are not an extreme couponer. I am not an extreme couponer. We are literally doing this in less than 30 mins of planning per week, it will not kill you to clip a goddamn coupon.

The 2nd thing to do is to put in a search engine “Meijer (or your store) weekly ad and coupons.” I’m not kidding when I say the first result for me was a website that listed the sales ad for my area with a cross comparison of Mperks coupons. They do all the hard work for you. They tell you exactly how much something will cost after the sale and coupon are added together. You can say thank you now to the nice people who do this. This is where all the time is saved because you don’t have to think about what things will cost and if you are only limited to two per transaction or if this or that doubles or will work together. Simply scroll down that page you just found and go “ooooo I want tomatoes this week” or “I needed creamer anyways!” and then simply add it to your shopping list and make sure you have the coupon clipped or printed for your trip. I love that meijer is completely digital because I will sit on my phone at work on my break and have two tabs open just pulling my groceries together. 15-20mins later boom done.

The 3rd step is an extra bonus for a little extra work (and I mean very little in some cases). Use a rebate app like Ibotta! My referal code is here and you get $10 for signing up with it (yes I get some money as well if you sign up and actually use it). I recommend Ibotta because last month alone I got $50 back on my spending in all categories not just groceries. For me I simply pick which of the 100’s of stores they offer that I shop from (Meijer, Amazon, Family Fare, Joanns, Uber, etc.) and follow the instructions. 3 quick examples: Meijer, I have to click the rebates I want and take a photo of the receipt within 3-5 days of the purchase, Family Fare I have to pick the rebates before checkout because it automatically connects with my rewards there so I don’t have to do anything else. Amazon I simply have to shop on the Ibotta browser and they do the rest for me. No credit card information required.

So the next time you are even thinking about telling me that it is too much work to be worth the money, remember that you could be saving Hundreds of dollars per month for simply taking 30 minutes of prep work a week. Heck just throw on the TV while you’re doing it.

What could you do with all that extra money?

~Naomi

Long Distance Relationships

Hello everyone! Hello!

Avery and I have been dating since 2013. As our relationship has developed, we haven’t always been physically together. Today, I wanted to talk about the challenges of long distance relationships (LDRs). If you want to learn a bit more about our history together check our introduction post here! Actually wouldn’t that be there?

Our first year in college we pursued our own dreams in the way we thought best. Against my better judgement.  That meant not holding each other back and we attended colleges over 13 hours apart. Avery and I had to spend several months apart with no visits. It was the hardest part of our relationship. Even now that he has returned to our hometown we are still 2 hours apart. While that is a significantly closer distance it still has it struggles.

Avery and I were both military brats. We were used to some of our loved ones being away for long periods of time, but we never had to keep a romantic one alive (shoutout to the military couples for making it work). When you’re hundreds of miles apart or more, how do you keep the love alive? At first we didn’t have too many issues. We were so busy meeting new people, exploring new avenues, and every night we would go home and tell each other about it. Our struggles began when the novelty wore off. The first fights were resolved with some skype calls, just feeling like the other person was there.

The longer we were apart the harder it got. We just needed to feel equally invested. Everything from texts, to calls, to writing letters, and little homemade gifts certainly helped. Eventually time was taking its toll. Avery and I would fight more and more often and it wasn’t our normal bickering. Looking back it wasn’t so much we were angry at each other; we were furious at our situation that seemed rather helpless. My jerkface aka the love of my life, Avery, even tried to break us up on an occasion or two. For us it was all about overcoming feeling distant.In my defense I am an A-hole, and I was way too involved and stressed.

We started planning skype dates something we still try to do. If one of us had to cancel we always rescheduled for that week. I discovered the beauty of pinterest and all of its resources for long distance relationships and use them like crazy. When we knew we would see each other we would plan dates and try to make every moment count. Even now that we see each other much more often it has become part of our foundation for a successful relationship.

So why share all of this with you? A few reasons:

  1. There are plenty of people who go through long distance relationships these days. It was always nice to find someone who could relate.

  2. If you’re going through a rough patch, to remind individuals that those times are a learning experience that happens to everyone.

  3. To announce a new blog series! This is something I am beyond ecstatic to create. I want to share ideas and tips on how to better strengthen and reconnect with your significant other!


How many of you are in a LDR? Do you do anything special for them?

-Naomi

Avery

 

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Introducing Carolina: mi mejor amiga

 

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Caro during our last spring break came with me to chop my hair off and dye it pretty colors!

Mi mejor amiga is Spanish for my best friend. That is exactly what I think of when I talk about Carolina. Carolina, aka Caro for short, is a huge part of my life and has been for a bit over three years now. I figured with how often I want to talk about her, I should introduce her.

See, Carolina is a super sweet and fiesty Puerto Rican. She can be really sassy (which I love) and can throw jokes back and forth with me all day. But, she is also an amazing human who will stop literally anything she is doing to help you out. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to her and she was always there to listen.

Caro and I met our freshman year in college. We were suitemates and of course the first thing I did was march myself right into her room to say hello. Ever since then we have been pretty much inseparable. Freshman year was spent almost constantly together building our friendship and trust. I remember living literally on the other side of our bathroom, but we would still have sleepovers just so we could fall asleep chatting.

 

By the end of freshman year we had been through a lot. Regardless of any academic or boy struggles, we both went through, we came out on top that year. The next year we returned as sophomores to live in a house together on campus with five of our other friends. Talk about a lot of girls in one house. We had a rough year to say the least. My ex-roommate and I just couldn’t live together and while we were struggling to figure out that issue the rest of the house relationships were falling apart too.

Caro fought with her freshman roommate and after my roommate moved out she practically moved in. She walked into my room one day and had just had enough. I told her to spend the night in my room. What did it matter anyways I had two beds. We stayed like that for about three weeks straight. Then she went back and forth from “her” room to our room. It was in this time that I realized that Caro was more like my sister than my best friend. For the rest of the year we were absolutely inseperable. 

 

Caro was my date to Spring Formal. Avery was our third wheel.

Caro and I have seen each other at some pretty bad spots in each other lives. We have both had our share of tears and we have supported each other through everything! She is so fantastic she even helps me with my Spanish (¡Sí, comprendo español!) which has to be a struggle. Eventually at the end of our second year, she was accepted to a university in North Carolina. Her family was back there and she was following her pretty awesome dreams to become an architect.

Caro is still my best friend even states away. Our birthdays are a few days apart and she came all the way up north to celebrate our 21st together. This summer Avery and I plan to visit her for a week (Avery and her text constantly ever since she helped picked out my engagement ring). I even asked her to be a part of our wedding.

Carolina is mi mejor amiga. She puts up with my crappy spanish and my even worse puns. She skypes me and tells me about her latest classes and the one I refer to as “the boy”. Regardless of how far the world may force us apart, I’m so grateful she is my best friend. I hope you look forward to hearing about our many adventures in the future!

  • Naomi

Caro going home after coming up for our birthdays. Thank you for flying all that way!


February Review & March Goals 2017


Hello everyone!

Avery and I have some goals that go right along with this blog. We plan to monetize this blog to make it a side income and work on paying off debt, like my student loans. This means we have to treat this blog right and make some goals! Today I wanted to review our first month and some things goals we have to make it better.

February Review

  • Started blog!
  • Created Instagram

  • Posted Introduction
  • Reshaped about us and contact pages

Some big things that haven’t happened yet:

  • Pinterest
  • Twitter or Facebook
  • Regular blog post schedule
  • Monetize

Stats:

Unique Vistors: 40

WordPress followers: 4

Instagram followers: 11

Our thoughts on February

Honestly, Avery and I couldn’t have been more excited to make the connections that we did. These stats may seem small to some, but it was a huge start for us. We are really happy with how people have been reacting to us and hope we can continue to refine our work!

We did have some major issues occur. I had a heavy college load and Avery had an even heavier work load this last month. During this time we have both learned that we need to treat this like the business we want and the blog we love. So that means setting some goals for ourselves to just keep improving on consistency. Lucky for me my class load lightens after spring break significantly!

I also noticed I was holding myself back by overthinking it. Reviewing pre-written posts and refining them is great, but at some point content has the hit the webpage or it is pointless. This month I’m hoping to be more confident in my posts and get them out sooner!

We have also been taking a lot of time to think about how we want to monetize. We don’t want a billion annoying ads on our page because we don’t like blogs that have that either. Currently we are leaning towards starting with affiliate marketing and maybe one or two small advertisements. This has been a big part of this month just simply reading into terms and conditions and thinking about what we want to give our audience.

March Goals 

  • Post on our blog every Tuesday and Friday!
  • Create our Pinterest page
    • Read about bloggers Pinterest strategies
  • Post on Instagram 3x a week

Stat goals:

Unique Vistors: 250

WordPress followers: 25

Instagram followers: 100

Our thoughts on March’s Goals

Stressing consistency is the number one objective this month. We are committing to post 2x a week for now with the occasional bonus posts. Everyone wants to increase their following and we are hoping by being more consistent we can!

We hope that by the end of March we will have smashed these goals. Check back in April to see how we did!

Naomi & Avery